Bridgeport Islanders

The Bridgeport Report: Week 20

February 27, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Bridgeport Islanders News Release

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - The Bridgeport Islanders bounced back from a sloppy start to the week with an exclamation point on Sunday, collecting points 36 and 37 on the season. The Islanders (16-28-6-1) went 1-2-0-0 in a trio of games against Atlantic Division opponents.

It may take a dozen paragraphs to recap a wild afternoon on Sunday, which ended with a 5-3 come-from-behind win against the Springfield Thunderbirds at Total Mortgage Arena. Here are the CliffsNotes: Ruslan Iskhakov scored twice, Sam Bolduc recorded the game winner with less than nine minutes left, and the Islanders fired a franchise record 54 shots-on-goal - most in team history for a game that ended in regulation.

The Islanders scored five goals for the fourth time this season (three have come against the T-Birds) and extended their home point streak to a season-long six games (4-0-1-1). Matt Maggio and Grant Hutton each had two assists, while Tyce Thompson (first Bridgeport goal) and Hudson Fasching also found the back of the net. Henrik Tikkanen (6-3-2) made 26 saves. Tikkanen is 3-0-1-0 in his last four starts.

Prior to Sunday's win, the Islanders suffered a 2-1 loss in Hartford and a 4-1 setback to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Both contests came during a brief two-game road trip.

Maggio scored his 10th goal of the season and Ken Appleby (6-7-0) made 25 saves at XL Center on Wednesday. It was Bridgeport's league-leading 27th one-goal outcome. Karson Kuhlman recorded his ninth goal of the season and Jakub Skarek (4-18-5) turned back 26 shots inside Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Saturday.

The Islanders return to action this Wednesday and will play three games in five days for the second consecutive week. Bridgeport hosts the Laval Rocket (22-22-5-2) at 7 p.m. Wednesday night, then hops on the bus for back-to-back road games against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (22-20-5-2) and Springfield Thunderbirds (24-22-3-2). The Islanders trail Springfield by 14 points for the Atlantic Division's final playoff spot with 21 games remaining.

All of the action this season can be seen live on AHLTV or heard for free through the Bridgeport Islanders Radio Network, beginning with the Connecticut Lottery Pregame Countdown 15 minutes prior to puck drop.


The Week Ahead:

Wednesday, Feb. 28th vs. Laval (7 p.m.): The Islanders close out February and go for their first three-game winning streak at home. It's the second of four matchups between the Islanders and Rocket this season, and their second meeting at Total Mortgage Arena in 10 days. Bridgeport defeated Montreal's affiliate in overtime, 2-1, on Feb. 18th, led by Matt Maggio's two goals. Tickets are on sale now.

Saturday, Mar. 2nd at Lehigh Valley (7:05 p.m.): The Islanders travel to Allentown, PA for the first time this season to face the Philadelphia Flyers' affiliate. It's the second of six meetings between the Islanders and Phantoms, and the first of three at PPL Center. Bridgeport earned one point in a 2-1 shootout loss to Lehigh Valley on Feb. 10th. Karson Kuhlman had the team's lone goal and Henrik Tikkanen made 31 saves.

Sunday, Mar. 3rd vs. Springfield (3:05 p.m.): Bridgeport and Springfield meet for the second time in as many Sundays, but this time at MassMutual Center just across the state line. Bridgeport is 6-2-2-0 against the St. Louis' Blues affiliate this season and has points in six straight meetings (4-0-2-0), including a three-game winning streak.


Ice Chips:

Follow the Leader: Ruslan Iskhakov scored his team-leading 14th and 15th goals on Sunday afternoon, snapping a stretch of 13 straight games without one. Iskhakov, who played center in both games last weekend, also collected his team-leading 37th point and 11th multi-point performance on Sunday. The two-time AHL All-Star had a career-high seven shots including five in the second period. In addition to goals, points and multi-point games, Iskhakov leads Bridgeport in assists (22), power-play points (10), shots (123) and game-winning goals (4) during his second AHL campaign.

Maggio Making It Happen: After recording just eight points in his first 30 games of the season, rookie forward Matt Maggio has 10 points (six goals, four assists) in his last 11 contests and seven points (four goals, three assists) in his last six. Maggio collected multiple points for the second consecutive Sunday when he assisted on both of Iskhakov's tallies against Springfield. Maggio and Iskhakov, skating with Hudson Fasching this past weekend, helped the Islanders improved to 7-1-2-0 when playing on a Sunday.

Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Is In): The New York Islanders loaned Hudson Fasching and Samuel Bolduc to Bridgeport for conditioning on Friday, and both made a near immediate impact. Fasching (in his 300th AHL game) recorded four shots and sealed Sunday's win with an empty-net, power-play goal in the final four seconds. It was Bridgeport's first power-play goal since Jan. 31st and their second empty-netter this season. Bolduc notched five shots and scored the game-winning tally on a long-range wrist shot 11:34 into the third period. The maximum term on a conditioning loan is 14 days.

Quick Hits: Karson Kuhlman is riding his first three-game point streak with Bridgeport (one goal, two assists) and his first three-game scoring streak overall since Jan. of 2020 with Providence... Bridgeport's 54 shots-on-goal Sunday afternoon were a franchise record for a game ending in regulation, although the team had 57 shots in a 4-3 shootout win against Lowell on Dec. 1, 2007... The Islanders are 4-4-1-1 during the month of February with one game left... Rick Kowalsky is closing in on 300 career wins as an AHL head coach, currently at 297.


Across the Sound: The New York Islanders (24-20-14) took down the Dallas Stars 3-2 in overtime on Monday. Bridgeport grads Ryan Pulock and Kyle MacLean each scored in regulation before Mat Barzal connected with Bo Horvat for a one-time, game-winning goal 2:54 into the extra session. The Islanders are five points behind Philadelphia for a playoff spot as well as seven points behind Tampa Bay for a wild card position. There are 24 games left in the regular season. New York continues a three-game road trip on Thursday with a 7 p.m. matchup against the Detroit Red Wings.

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